Don’t forget the close shot! Most shooting at African plains game will range from something less than 100 yards to perhaps a bit more than 200 yards, which is considered a long shot by most PHs. There are some extremely open areas where shots as far as 300 yards may be required, but shots beyond that are extremely unusual and most PHs either will not recommend or will not allow shooting at such distances. However, in thick cover very close shots are sometimes offered. So, equally important to the highest magnification setting, a variable scope for African use must have a low enough power setting so that very close shots can be taken when necessary. For most of us this means a minimum power setting between 2X and maximum about 4X.
Ideal plains game scopes. The ideal scope for African plains game is probably a variable-power scope between 2-7X and 4-12X, including the ever-popular 3-9X and 3.5-10X scopes. On smaller animals and in open country, the higher magnification levels will make good shot placement much easier, but scopes should always be kept on a low magnification setting so that a close shot can be taken if a quick opportunity arises. Crank up the magnification when needed, but don’t forget to turn it back down!
Quality. Both rifles and scopes take serious beatings in Africa, constantly bouncing over rough roads. Scopes have to be rugged to stand up, and the best way to ensure that is to use one of the many high-quality brands, and avoid the most inexpensive scopes.
Protection. Dust is a major issue in Africa. Bring a scope cover or lens caps. Leave them on your scope in the vehicle, removing when you commence a stalk. Using a soft gun case in vehicles will also save wear and tear on the scope as well as the rifle.